If you are planning on taking your church online, or perhaps improving your church’s online presence, then there are important steps that should be a part of the plan. In fact, according to Kevin Hendricks of Church Marketing Sucks.com, there are 10 specific steps that you need to follow. In his multi-week series, he shares tips for creating a user-friendly church website. Here we will give you an overview of his article series.
10 Steps to Building a Church Website
- Do Not Begin with the Web. Rather, determine your plan of action. Consider the following communication needs:
- How your church communicates.
- Whom you want to reach.
- Who is responsible for communication?
- Who makes the final decision?
- Choose a Project Leader. This is someone who will be the driving force of the project. They should be able to keep the project going so that it goes from an idea to a reality. The leader should be dependable and will, ideally, have an understanding of HTML, basic Web skills, and knowledge of what is involved in building a website. This leader should also be aware of the answers, per your church, to the questions in step 1. They need to have the ability to make decisions without being micromanaged. In addition, the leader will need a team to help them get things done.
- Planning the Site. Along with the initial questions in step 1, there are other questions to be asked and answered.
- What does church leadership expect from the site?
- How/who will keep the site up to date?
- What will be done to see that the goals are met?
- How will site success be tracked? As Bud Wrenn of Pinnacle Consulting and Coaching Group says, “You cannot inspect what you do not expect.”
- What are your priorities?
The more you do before you begin working on your church website, the more successful the end product will be.
- Call to Action. Think about what you want guests to do when visiting your site. The desired actions should be easily and clearly defined. Your call to action should be based on the answers to the questions above.
- Know Your Audience. The Great Commission may say, “Go into all the world” but when designing a church website, you need to target your “market.” Keep these questions in mind:
- Who is your audience? Members? Locals? Newcomers to the area? Be sure that this is clearly defined.
- How can you reach them? Do they prefer e-mail? Text? Facebook? Podcast? Be sure your website will meet these needs.
- How tech savvy is your audience? If only 10-20% of your audience uses the Web, then perhaps a more basic website is in order. J
- Know Yourself. Don’t design a high-maintenance website, if you don’t have the time and resources to manage it. Oftentimes a church website is built by a volunteer, then some time down the road, that volunteer leaves. When the next person comes along to work on the site, they are unable to access the site. (This is a good reason to hire a web design company like Page Progressive, as they will keep that type of information on file.)
- Surf the Web. Take some time to check out other church websites, as well as sites for fields like bands, businesses and non-profits. Pay attention to elements you like and don’t like-keep a list-and consider how you can use them to build your own site.
- Don’t Reinvent the Wheel. From calendars to audio streaming, the Web has a plethora of tools that can be used to add interest and interaction to your site.
- Employ the Following Church Website Development Tips:
- Content- Be sure your site contains content that keeps people interested.
- Original- Online content is different from your weekly bulletin. Be sure to use bold text, subheadings, bullet points, etc. so that the content can be easily and quickly read.
- Get Found-SEO is not just for businesses! Talk to Page Progressive to learn how to use SEO for your church website.
- Don’t Just Think About It. Now that you have done your homework, you are ready to get started on your church website. There is no rule that says your site must be ready in a day, but don’t drag the project out over many months.
Your church website is a tool that can used to communicate inside and outside of the body. It is not just a way to make your church’s web presence known, but to help bring people into the presence of God. By taking the time to create a church website that is well designed and easy to use, you can accomplish both of these goals.